CFP ACLA 2019, Georgetown Univ. : Early Decolonials: Resistances and Rereadings of the Pre-modern and Early Modern

Check out our CFP for a proposed seminar at next year’s ACLA: Please share: https://www.acla.org/early-decolonials-resistances-and-rereadings-pre-modern-and-early-modern

Organizer: Giovanna Montenegro
Co-Organizer: Jennifer Nelson

Amid a “decolonial turn,” we wonder: what value might its logics and heuristics bring to bear on cultural production on our planet before modernity?

In the last few decades, many scholars read the colonial against what seemed to be its opposite, the postcolonial. While subaltern studies appropriated the postcolonial to discuss the effects of modern society upon groups not recognized by larger society, many critics of the postcolonial focused on the temporality of the term. It was simply inappropriate to discuss a postcolonial turn in parts of both the industrialized and non-industrialized world that were living in semi-colonial situations.

Even more recently, the decolonial has emerged as a way to read resistance strategies against empire as well as against oppressive colonial borders, institutions, categorizations, and so on. In other words, these strategies emphasize methodologies from outside the institutions of empire. We can speak of a decolonial turn in critical thought: Silvia Rivera Cusiqanqui’s project that reclaims indigeneity politically; Qwo-Li Driskill’s weaving of Queer Studies and Native American thought through the “Two Spirit” model, insisting that resisting misogyny, homophobia, racism along with colonialism are part of the decolonial option; Raymond Craib’s analysis of decolonial maps against a cartographic tradition whose aims have been to reinforce imperialism and colonialism––these are all debates on how multiple discourses and peoples resist coloniality in their specific contexts. One particular inspiration for our panel is parallel efforts in medieval studies, led by the BABEL working group and others, to combat white supremacist mobilization of medievalist history and scholarship.

This panel seeks to bring these debates and discourses to bear on case studies or discourses from time periods prior to the nineteenth century. Whereas historians like Arif Dirlik have criticized the idea of a “postcolonial pre-modern,” this panel, by contrast, assumes that coloniality relies upon conceptual extension of colonial frameworks into the deeper past, and that resistance to this extension is urgent and necessary. For example, what is the best way for scholars to resist white supremacist use of the repulsion of the Ottoman siege of Vienna in 1683 to advocate the expulsion of Muslim refugees from Austria and the rest of the EU today?

This ACLA seminar aims to respond to the decolonial option by rereading the resistances present in pre-modern and/or early modern textual and visual culture anywhere on the planet. How do we approach literature, images, and objects with non-linear histories through old and new methodologies? Can we speak of decolonials in the pre-modern era?

Please submit abstracts via the ACLA website before September 20 (early submissions are encouraged). Keep in mind that the ACLA’s submission portal allows for an abstract to contain as many as 1500 characters (spaces included).

Kalamazoo CFP: Re- Mapping/ Re-Reading Pre-Modern Travel Narratives and Maps

Please submit your one-page abstracts for the 54th International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan (May 9-12, 2019):

Session Title: Re-Mapping/Re-Reading Pre-Modern Travel Narratives and Maps
Sponsored by Mediaevalia: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Medieval Studies Worldwide

Organized by: Giovanna Montenegro, PhD
Assistant Professor- Binghamton University Comparative Literature & Romance Languages
gmontene[ at] binghamton.edu

Great travel narratives of the Middle Ages such as Marco Polo’s Il Milione, Jean Mandeville’s Travels, and the Travels of Ibn Battutah reveal that agents from both Christian Europe and Islamic North Africa experienced the world from a profoundly global perspective. Recently scholars such as Sharon Kinoshita have read Marco Polo within the context of a multilingual Mongol and Central Asian cosmopolitanism, Shirin Khanmohammadi has investigated the way through which Mandeville’s narrative expands ethnographic categories, and Christine Chism has written about how Battutah situates his travels between the worlds of Islam and Christendom. Although the purpose of their travels includes religious pilgrimage and commerce, Marco Polo’s, Mandeville’s, and Battutah’s narratives are rich in ethnographic and geographic description, despite their dubious editorial origins that read as literary pastiche. What is evident is that the cosmopolitan experience of Dar-al-Islam in Battutah, combined with Mandeville’s descriptions of the Holy Land and more fantastical descriptions of the East, along with Marco Polo’s contested and controversial accounts of trade in contact zones, reveal a new way of thinking about geography beyond the confines of the T-O Map, the Mappaemondi, or the Portolan Chart, around which discussions of the cartographic genre in the Middle Ages were centered. Such was the influence of Marco Polo and Mandeville that Martin Behaim included both travel accounts on his globe when he tried to convince King John II of Portugal to partake in voyages of exploration to western Africa and the Indies in the late 15th century.
This panel seeks papers that explore ways through which pre-modern travel narratives can be read geographically; also it seeks ways to read maps that were influenced by literature, i.e. literary cartographies. In what ways are late Medieval and early Renaissance maps shaped by literature? Inversely, how are travel narratives and chronicles shaped by the cartographic tradition that included the itinerarium, as well as Ptolemy in Arabic and Greek? How can a reevaluation of other premodern cartographies (i.e. Mesoamerican, South Asian, African) inform the way we read canonical Western travel narratives and change the way we consider place and space? Please send 1) your one-page abstracts 2) an academic CV and 3) a completed participant information form (available here) to Giovanna Montenegro gmontene@binghamton.edu by September 15.

Please familiarize yourself with the rules of the congress available here

AAUW Publication Grant for 2018

I am very happy to report that I have been selected as an American Association of University Women (AAUW) Fellow for a Publication Grant this summer to work on my book on German Capitalists in the Tropics: The Welsers’ Venezuela Colony (1528–1556) and Its Legacy. You can read more about it Here
A big thank you to the AAUW sponsors who supported this grant: Including the Marianna Lehner Rothe Fund; the Marguerite E. Gauge Fund, and the New York State Division/AAUW Centennial Fund.

Germans in the Tropics: Check out my recent publications on the Welser Venezuela colony

Check out some of my most recent research on the Welser Venezuela Colony (16th-Century):

One of the publications I discuss in my article: “The Welser Phantom”: Apparitions of the Welser Venezuela Colony in Nineteenth and Twentieth -century German Cultural Memory.”

1) Article Title: “The Welser Phantom”: Apparitions of the Welser Venezuela Colony in Nineteenth and Twentieth -century German Cultural Memory.” Transit: A Journal of Travel, Migration, and Multiculturalism in the German-speaking World.11.2 (2018): 21-53. http://transit.berkeley.edu/2018/montenegro/
(Open access publication).
Abstract: This article explores the mostly-forgotten history of the sixteenth-century colonization of Venezuela by the Welser Company, a German merchant family company from Augsburg, and its reinterpretation in Germany’s cultural memory in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. When Imperial Germany began to colonize parts of Africa and the South Pacific, the Welser episode resurfaced in its popular culture. The Venezuela Welser colony became a hopeful symbol for Imperial Germany’s colonial desires, and supported imperialists’ idea that Germany had a legitimate right to colonization. Later, after the loss of its colonies at the end of WWI, Germany continued to try and make sense of its colonial past while transitioning between the short-lived German Empire, the democratic Weimar Republic, and the Third Reich. Through an analysis of works of history and historical fiction from the Imperial era through the Third Reich, this paper analyzes how and why the fantasy of the Venezuelan colony fueled the desire for imperial expansion and why it matters to discuss it amidst Germany’s belated imperialism and its ultimate turn to Fascism. The article concludes with an an examination of how Germans have recently decided to decolonize their public spaces. This time Germans’ de-colonial turn aims to connect early colonial history to ongoing struggles against racism and anti-Semitism in the German public sphere.

2) Article Title: “Conquistadors and Indians ‘Fail’ at Gift Exchange: An Analysis of Nikolaus Federmann’s Indianische Historia (Haguenau, 1557).” MLN, 132 (2017): 272-290.
(Available through databases such as Project Muse). https://muse.jhu.edu/article/656912
Abstract:
Nikolaus Federmann’s Indianische Historia (“Indian History”; Haguenau, 1557) details the sixteenth-century German conquest and governance of Venezuela by the German bankers, the Welsers. It describes complex negotiations between conquistadors and Indian nations that hinge on the word as well as the sword. I argue that Federmann’s text offers insights into the role that gifts and time played in the American conquest. Federmann’s failed strategies of gift exchanges with the Nations he encounters become part of his conquest tactic. Using Marcel Mauss’s social theory on the gift, I examine the economy of these gift exchanges, analyzing the meaning of both gifts Federmann offered in order to placate and those he offered in order to harm.

Peru International Service Learning 2017

International Service Learning- Peru 2017

International Service Learning- Peru 2017

The What:

We are embarking on the fifth year that the Peru Service Learning and Spanish Immersion Program will run from Binghamton University. Sustainability in an Era of Globalization: History, Culture, and Literature of the Andes is an international service-learning course that introduces students to the history, culture, and literature of the Andean region in Latin America. Students learn about issues such as bilingual education, social equity, tourism and sustainability, and cultural identity. Moreover, students connect what they read and write about with a service component that allows them to reflect upon international service and global citizenship. The Peru Program is a collaboration between the Office of International Programs, the Department of Public Administration in CCPA, the Center for Civic Engagement, an accredited on-site language school in Cuzco (Máximo Nivel), as well as three service partner organizatio ns around Cuzco. The course was led by Professors Susan Appe and Nadia Rubai (Public Administration) for three years, and I am happy to return to Peru and lead the group for my second time along with graduate student co-director, Odilka Santiago (PhD Candidate Sociology).

Prior to the end of the semester (hard to believe), the group  of 14 students met for three Saturday sessions where we learned about the history of Peru through the works of writers from the colonial period such as El Inca Garcilaso De La Vega  and Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala (see image below), debated recent conflicts surrounding post-conflict Peru in the aftermath of the Shining Path Years, and discussed the ethics of service learning and short-term study abroad projects. Students presented issue briefs on a variety of themes prevalent in contemporary Peruvian society on topics ranging from Bilingual Education, Sustainable Tourism, Women’s Rights in Peru, and Asian-Peruvian Gastronomy. Students have also started submitted their ideas for final papers, some of which will involve on-the ground work in Peru.

poma_de_ayala

In Cuzco students will study Spanish, and advanced Spanish speakers will have the chance to take Quechua classes (I am particularly excited about this). Quechua  is an indigenous language spoken by some 8-10 million people in the Andes. If you would like to listen to music from a popular singer who sings in Quechua- check out the music of singer/actress Magaly Solier. We actually watched Claudia Llosa’s film La teta asustada (The Milk of Sorrow), in which Solier stars ,when we discussed fictional depictions of trauma from the Shining Path years.

So What:

It is hard to believe that we are about to embark on our three week service-learning component to Cuzco, Peru! We have a fantastic group of 14 students majoring in Computer Science, Spanish, Human Development, as well as MPA graduate students who are packing their bags this week. Over our three weeks in Peru you will hear from the CCPA graduate students who will have a chance to reflect upon their experiences, think about what they bring in to the service sites, and what they learn about public service and ISL in general. We are very excited to continue to work with our three service-learning partners :

AbrePuertas (OpenDoors), was started by a SUNY alumna and is situated in the district of Coya, Peru, in the Sacred Valley outside of the city of Cuzco. The organization works to improve community literacy, empower teens through leadership and public speaking trainings, engage families who may undervalue traditional education, and bolster the value of learning and art. In 2014, Binghamton students helped to redesign a youth room through painting and clean up and catalogued library books into the organization’s library system. In 2015, faculty and students sanded, painted, and labeled shelving units for the common space at AbrePuertas.  They created a reading space for younger children. In addition, they ran a mini-AbrePuertas Olympics with the kids, which included activities such as relays, chess, and hopscotch. In 2016 we repurposed a small building to be used for a library program in the community of Huaynapata. This year we will be helping out with some remodeling projects as the main organization is in a new building.

Corazón De Dahlia

In 2014, faculty and students were integrated in the Corazón de Dahlia  after school program, helping with homework. In addition, outdoor activities were planned by Binghamton University students such as soccer and volleyball games as well as hot potatoes and other group games for all ages and levels. In 2015 and 2016, faculty and students were again integrated in the Corazón de Dahlia  after school program, helping with homework. In addition, outdoor activities were planned including a town scavenger hunt for all ages and levels. In conversation with the organization, students have already planned an array of collaborative workshops to implement while we are at Corazón De Dahlia.

Municipality of Cuzco (for work with the Comedores Populares). The Municipality of Cuzco, our third service partner organization, facilitates our work with a network of soup kitchens: Comedores Populares.  The Comedores Populares are run by local women and provides a source of food for families who would otherwise lack an adequate food supply. In 2014 faculty and students tore down a dilapidated adobe building which served as the kitchen for the Comedor Popular and rebuilt it out of ceramic bricks. In 2015, at a new Comedor,  faculty and students built wooden tables used to serve lunches. Students also painted the inside and outside of the Comedor. In 2016, we conducted a major construction project for comedor San Martín de Porres. We are excited to continue work with our service coordinator Marlyn on a comedor in alto Cuzco.

Now What?

I just returned from the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) meeting in Lima two weeks ago and am eager to return to Cusco this weekend. At the LASA meeting, I attended a benefit concert for Latin American scholars. Peruvian stars such as Peru Negro, Cecilia Bracamonte, Magaly Solier, and Bareto performed a varied program that showed how unique the music of each region of Peru is. I spoke with taxi drivers about ratings for current president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski and the intense storms and mud slides that had plagued Peru in the last year. Mining, resource extraction, and climate change are some of the most important issues facing Peru today. I attended talks on colonial art, indigenismo and José Carlos Mariátegui, heard from graphic artists such as Juan Acevedo Fernández de Paredes, a cartoonist who publishes the popular “El Cuy” strip, and the multi-talented artist Sheila Alvarado, who turned Daniel Alarcon’s City of Clowns into a graphic novel (You can read more about it here ). Together they discussed the art of “illustration” in Peru and difficulties for women in the industry.

The success of women and children in Peru, the US, and the world is of utmost importance. I am eager to return to Cuzco and continue to learn from and work with our amazing service partners. I am eager to introduce a group of students to Peruvian culture and to continue critical conversations about global citizenship and to reflect on our experiences. I am excited to see students develop their Spanish and Quechua speaking skills and hope they will learn to say Tupinanchiskama which in Quechua is, not truly a  “goodbye,” but holds a promise of a future meeting. As such I say to you now Tupinanchiskama.

Respectfully,

Giovanna Montenegro, PhD

Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature & Spanish

LASA Lima

 

Presenting my paper “German Heretics as Governors of the Colonies? Emperor
Charles V and the Welsers in Venezuela” in LASA LIMA 2017.Welser bankers in an Iberian Sovereignty panel.

I just returned from LASA Lima where I presented a paper on the Welser bankers from Augsburg as an example of the complex games of “sovereignty” that Emperor Charles V played when signing contracts with non- Castilian agents that were ultimately suspected of heresy. Great panel. Great Conference.

Todas las ponencias estuvieron super interesantes y se enfocaron en este tema complicado de la soberanía, o el mito de ella, en la época colonial.

Taking Students to Peru 2016

Students, faculty embark on study abroad trip to Peru

Blog Post published on

The Greater Good

The Official Blog of Binghamton University’s College of Community and Public Affairs

June 2, 2016

The What:

We are about to embark on the fourth year that the Peru Service Learning and Spanish Immersion Program will run from Binghamton University. The study-abroad, service-learning component is titled Sustainability in an Era of Globalization: History, Culture, and Literature of the Andes. 

This course provides an opportunity for students of diverse backgrounds and interests to learn about the history, culture, and literature of the Andean region in Latin America at the same time that it allows them to learn about the issues raised by readings concerned with environmental justice, indigenous rights, bilingual education, social equity, sustainability, and cultural identity. Moreover, students connect these issues in their readings with a service learning component that allows them to reflect upon international service and global citizenship. The Peru Program is a collaboration between the Office of International Programs, the Department of Public Administration in CCPA, the Center for Civic Engagement, an accredited on-site language school in Cuzco (Máximo Nivel), as well as three service partner organizations around Cuzco. The course has been led by Public AdministrTION Professors Susan Appe and Nadia Rubaii for the last three years, and I am happy to lead this year’s group along with MPA-MSW graduate student co-director, Carolina Garcia, an alumna of last year’s program.

blog 2.pngPrior to the end of the spring semester, the group met for three intensive Saturday sessions where we learned about the history of Peru through the works of colonial writers such as El Inca Garcilaso De La Vega and Felipe Guamán Poma de Ayala debated recent conflicts surrounding post-conflict Peru in the aftermath of the Shining Path Years, and discussed the ethics of service learning and short-term study abroad projects. Students presented briefs on a variety of issues prevalent in contemporary Peruvian society in topics ranging from Education, climate change, tourism, gastronomy, poverty, elections, as well as Afro-Peruvian, Asian-Peruvian, and GLBT communities. Students have also started thinking about their final papers and they have begun to reflect on ways through which their service in Peru combined with their academic experience at Binghamton will impact their future careers.

In Cuzco, Peru students will study Spanish, and advanced Spanish speakers will have the chance to take Quechua classes thereby gaining an opportunity to further communicate with indigenous interlocutors. Students will therefore be able to reflect upon issues that affect these communities such as bilingual education, cultural identity, sustainable development and tourism, etc. Quechua is an indigenous language spoken by some eight to ten million people in the Andes (if you would like to groove with a bit of Quechua – check out the Michael Jackson covers sung in Quechua by teenage Peruvian star Renata Flores who has revived popular manifestations of the language.

So What:

It is hard to believe that we are about to embark on our three-week service-learning component to Cuzco (also spelled Cusco), Peru! We have a fantastic group of 17 students. That includes undergraduates from various majors such as Spanish, Anthropology, and Human Development as well as MPA and MSW graduate students who are packing their bags as we speak. Over our time in Peru you will hear from the CCPA graduate students who will have a chance to reflect upon their experiences, think about what they bring in to the service sites, and what they learn about public service and ISL in general.

blog 1We are very excited to continue to work with our three service-learning partners :

AbrePuertas (OpenDoors), was started by a SUNY alumna and is situated in the district of Coya, Peru, in the Sacred Valley outside of the city of Cuzco. The organization works to improve community literacy, empower teens through leadership and public speaking trainings, engage families who may undervalue traditional education, and bolster the value of learning and art. In 2014, Binghamton students helped to redesign a youth room through painting and clean up and catalogued library books into the organization’s library system. In 2015, faculty and students sanded, painted, and labeled shelving units for the common space at AbrePuertas. They created a reading space for younger children. In addition, they ran a mini-AbrePuertas Olympics with the kids, which included activities such as relays, chess, and hopscotch. This year we have work to do in the repurposing of a small building used for a library program in the community of Huaynapata.

Corazón De Dahlia

In 2014, faculty and students were integrated in the Corazón de Dahlia after school program, helping with homework. In addition, outdoor activities were planned by Binghamton University students such as soccer and volleyball games as well as hot potatoes and other group games for all ages and levels. In 2015, faculty and students were again integrated in the Corazón de Dahlia after school program, helping with homework. In addition, outdoor activities were planned including a town scavenger hunt for all ages and levels. Students also spent time on a new empowerment program for girls. In conversation with the organization, students have already planned an array of collaborative workshops to implement while we are at Corazón De Dahlia.

Municipality of Cuzco (for work with the Comedores Populares). The Municipality of Cuzco, our third service partner organization, facilitates our work with a network of soup kitchens: Comedores Populares. The Comedores Populares are run by local women and provides a source of food for families who would otherwise lack an adequate food supply. In 2014 faculty and students tore down a dilapidated adobe building which served as the kitchen for the Comedor Popular and rebuilt it out of ceramic bricks. In 2015, at a new Comedor, faculty and students built wooden tables used to serve lunches. Students also painted the inside and outside of the Comedor. We are very excited to continue our work with the Comedores this year.

Now What?

I took a break from attending this year’s Latin American Studies Association (LASA) to compose this blog entry. This weekend I listened to great talks on forms of indigenous resistance in art and literature of Peru in the colonial era, “testimonio” and the aftermath of the Shining Path era, as well as Chinese medicine in Lima. I attended the Gran Baile (Official Conference Dance) where a group of Peruvian scholars protested against the return of Fujimorismo and Keiko Fujimori’s impeding presidential victory in Peru on the June 5 run off.[1] We will be arriving in Peru at a very critical moment and our students will surely reflect on political participation in Peru (where voting is compulsory) vs. the United States. As a teacher of Comparative Literature and Spanish, a scholar of Colonial Latin America, and a learner of Quechua, it is important for myself as well as our team to consider the intersection between learning about a culture’s history, language, and politics and to integrate it within an ISL model. I believe that in our last class sessions we have truly begun fruitful discussions concerning issues surrounding OUR communities in the U.S. as well as those that we may visit in Peru. I know this process of reflection will be invaluable for those of our students who may continue work in education, public service, social work, and international development. While there is no perfect “Global Citizen,” students may ponder how they can serve their communities with a global mindset and remain connected to the important work being done in Peru by our partner organizations. Moreover, upon return, students can continue to be engaged with our partner organizations by fundraising, participating in social media, informing their peers, families, and employers about Peru, and by (hopefully ) continuing to return to Peru and the region.

Giovanna Montenegro

Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature and Spanish

[1] For more on Keiko’s father, Alberto Fujimori and the legacy of his policies, see http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/03/01/peru-fujimori-keiko-alberto-election/.